Best Architecture of All Time – Chronological

For this list, I took my “Best Architecture of All Time” list and organized it chronologically.  At the same time, I added all architecture that was on three of the original 20 or so source lists, so this list is longer than the first one.  I’ve used the earliest date (usually start of construction) as the organizing principle.  In many cases, buildings have been added to, restored and renovated over the years, so there are often multiple dates of construction, as well as architects, designers and engineers.

Stonehenge

2600-2400 BCE. Salisbury Plain, England, UK. Architect(s): Unknown
Stonehenge.  stonehenge-from-air Stonehenge_aerial_
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument set on Salisbury Plain in the west of England that is composed of earthworks and numerous stones.  The original circular earth bank and ditch, with an opening to the northeast, date to 3100 BCE, while erection of most of the stones probably occurred between 2600 BCE and 2400 BCE (see third image, above).  Further rearrangements of the smaller bluestones continued until 1600 BCE.  The purpose of Stonehenge is much debated among scholars.  Some say it is an astronomical observatory due to its alignment with the summer solstice; others that it is a temple for sacred rites of healing or death.  There is evidence of many prehistoric burials at or near the site and a long avenue that connects it with another prehistoric site. The standing stones at Stonehenge appear to be descended from an earlier tradition of standing timber structures, remnants of which have been found at Stonehenge and elsewhere.  The builders switched from timber to stone in about 2600 BCE, beginning with bluestones measuring about 6.6 ft. tall, 3-5 ft. wide and 2.6 ft. thick.  Later, the builders began using much larger sarsens, made of limestone, to create the famous sarsen circle.  (See first and second images, above.)  Given this history of working with wood, it is not surprising that the techniques used to link the stones come directly from carpentry.  Mortise and tenon joints allow the horizontal lintel stones to fit snugly atop the standing stones.  In addition, the lintels themselves were fitted to each other using tongue and groove joints.  The stones were dressed to create either a smooth or dimpled surface.  To maintain perspective, each standing stone widens toward the top and the lintels are shaped to curve slightly.  The surfaces of the stones that face the inside of the circle are smoother than the outer surfaces.  There are 30 standing stones and 30 lintels (many of them fallen) in the 108-ft diameter circle.  Each standing stone is 13 ft. tall, almost 7 ft. wide, 3.5 ft. thick and weighs 25 tons. The lintels are 10 ft. long, 3.2 ft. wide and 2.6 ft. thick.  Those who have studied the ruins do not believe that the circle of stones was ever completed, despite numerous imaginative paintings to that effect. Inside the stone circle were five trilithons (each consisting of two standing stones capped by a lintel) arranged in a horseshoe shape.  (See second image, above.)  These are larger than the stones in the circle, ranging from 20-24 ft. tall.  At the very center lies a stone known as the Altar Stone, which dates to the time of the bluestones.  At the northeastern entrance stood Portal Stones, only one of which remains, although it has fallen (see third image, above).  Farther from the circle are four Station Stones and the Heelstone, which is located beyond the entrance.  How the prehistoric people moved the heavy stones from locations that ranged from 10-125 miles away is the source of much speculation but no certainty.

Great Pyramids at Giza
c. 3200??; 2551-2470;c. 2560-2540 BCE; 2558-2532 BCE; 2450 BCE. Giza, Egypt. Architect(s): Unknown
The Pyramids at Giza, Egypt.
The three large pyramids at Giza are the burial monuments of three Old Kingdom pharaohs: Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure.

Great Sphinx of Giza
2558-2532 BCE. Giza, Egypt. Architect(s): UnknownWhile stationed in Egypt, Napoleon's troops used the face of the Great Sphinx of Giza for target practice.
The sphinx was a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a man.

Temple of Amon (Precinct of Amun-Re)
c. 2000- 30 BCE. Karnak Temple Complex, near Luxor, Egypt. Architect(s): Unknown
The entrance to the Great Hypostyle Hall in the Precinct of Amun-Re, part of the Karnak Temple complex.
The entrance to the Great Hypostyle Hall in the Precinct of Amun-Re, part of the Karnak Temple complex.

Solomon’s Temple (First Temple)
c. 1000 BCE. Jerusalem, Israel. Architect(s): Unknown
An anonymous artist's imagining of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem.
An anonymous artist’s imagining of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem.

Roman Forum (numerous temples and other buildings)
700 BCE – 312 CE. Rome, Italy. Architect(s): UnknownThe ruins of the Roman Forum, the center of Roman life for many centuries.
The ruins of the Roman Forum, the center of Roman life for many centuries.

Great Wall of China
7th Century – 3rd Century BCE; 14th Century-15th Century. Northern China. Architect(s): Unknown
A view of the Great Wall at Jinshanling.
The wall was built in an East-West line to keep out invaders from the North.

Temples of Paestum
550-500 BCE. Near Naples, Italy. Architect(s): UnknownPaestum was the site of Roman temples to
Paestum was the site of Roman temples to Hera, Poseidon and Athena.

The Acropolis (includes numerous temples and other buildings)
5th Century BCE. Athens, Greece. Architect(s): Unknown In addition to containing temples and other public buildings, the strategic Athenian hilltop called the Acropolis was heavily fortified in case of invasion.
In addition to containing temples and other public buildings, the strategic Athenian hilltop called the Acropolis was heavily fortified in case of invasion.

Parthenon
477-432 BCE. Acropolis, Athens, Greece. Architects: Ictinus & Callicrates
Located on the Acropolis, the Parthenon was a temple to Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, and is a prime example of the Doric architectural order.
Located on the Acropolis, the Parthenon was a temple to Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, and is a prime example of the Doric architectural order.

The Erechtheion (Temple of Erechtheum)
c. 421–405 BCE. Acropolis, Athens, Greece. Architect: Mnesicles (?) The Erechtheion was a temple located on the Acropolis that was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon.
The Erechtheion was a temple located on the Acropolis that was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon.

Tikal (numerous buildings)
400 BCE – 900 CE. Guatemala. Architect(s): UnknownTikal was the main city of a thriving Mayan civilization in modern-day Guatemala and Belize.
Tikal was the capital of a powerful Mayan state that reached its peak between 200 and 900 CE.

Temple of Artemis
323-250 BCE. Destroyed in 401 CE.  Ephesus, Turkey. Architects: Paeonius and Demetrios (attrib.)
This is a small-scale model of what the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, may have looked like before it was destroyed in 401 CE.
This is a small-scale model of what the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, may have looked like before it was destroyed in 401 CE.

Temple of Horus (Temple of Edfu)
237-57 BCE. Edfu, Egypt. Architect(s): Unknown
This temple was dedicated to
This temple to the Egyptian hawk-god Horus was built during the Ptolemaic Period, when Egypt was part of the Greek and Roman empires.

Petra (numerous buildings)
200 BCE – 300 CE. Ma’an Governorate, Jordan. Architect(s): UnknownThe Treasury building (Al Khazneh) in Petra, a city that thrived during Greek and Roman times.
The Treasury building (Al Khazneh) in Petra, a city that thrived during Greek and Roman times.

Teotihuacan (numerous buildings)
100 BCE – 250 CE. Near Mexico City, Mexico. Architect(s): UnknownThe Avenue of the Dead and, on the left, the Pyramid of the Sun, in the ruins of Teotihuacan, which may have been a center for many Mesoamerican cultures.
At its peak in 450 CE, Teotihuacan covered 11.5 square miles and had a population of between 150,000 and 250,000. The absence of fortifications indicates a time of peace.

Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre)
70-80, 217-508. Rome, Italy. Architect(s): UnknownA view of the Colosseum in Rome.
A view of the Colosseum in Rome, showing the remains of the outer walls.

Pantheon
118-126. Rome, Italy. Architect(s): Unknown
A temple for Roman gods, the Pantheon survived because it was converted to a Christian church.
The roof of the Pantheon’s rotonda (which is behind the Corinthian portico) is the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. 

San Vitale (Basilica of San Vitale)
526-547. Ravenna, Italy. Architect(s): Unknown
An exterior view of San Vitale in Ravenna, an example of
An exterior view of the sixth century San Vitale basilica in Ravenna, Italy, an example of the Byzantine architectural style.

The interior of San Vitale is highlighted by its dramatic arches and stunning mosaics.
The interior of San Vitale is highlighted by its dramatic arches and stunning mosaics.

Hagia Sophia
532-537, 989-994. Istanbul, Turkey. Architects: Isidore of Miletus & Anthemius of Tralles; Tirdat
Hagia Sophia.
Hagia Sophia dominates the Istanbul skyline.

A view of the interior of Hagia Sophia, which shows the influence of both Medieval Christian and Islamic art.
A view of the interior of Hagia Sophia, showing the influence of both Medieval Christian and Islamic art.

Horyu-ji Temple (Hōryū-ji; Temple of the Flourishing Law)
607; 711; early 12th Century; 1374; 1603. Ikaruga, Nara, Japan. Architect(s): Unknown
The Golden Hall and Five-Storied Pagoda of Horyu-ji Buddhist temple.  The pagoda may be the oldest wooden structure in the world.
The Golden Hall and Five-Storied Pagoda of Horyu-ji Buddhist temple. The pagoda may be the oldest wooden structure in the world.

Dome of the Rock
685-691. Jerusalem, Israel. Architect(s): Unknown.The Dome of the Rock is built on the spot where it is believed that Abraham nearly sacrificed his son Isaac, and where the prophet Mohammed ascended into heaven with the angel Gabriel.
The Dome of the Rock was build at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik and is the first great work of Islamic architecture.

Borobudur Temple
750-825.  Java, Indonesia. Architect: Gunadharma (attrib.)Borobudor is a Mahayana Buddhist temple and was built in the Gupta architectural style.
Borobudur is a Mahayana Buddhist temple built in the Gupta architectural style.

Bells atop Borobudur.
These stupas, which house Buddhist relics, form part of the giant mandala pattern (with the main stupa at its center) that constitutes the temple’s overall design.

Great Mosque of Córdoba (Mezquita; Cathedral of Córdoba)
784-987. Córdoba, Spain. Architect(s): Unknown
The Great Mosque of Córdoba, or Mezquita, is now a Roman Catholic church.
The original building was a Catholic Church, built by the Visigoths in the 7th Century.  After the Islamic Conquest of Spain, it was rebuilt and greatly enlarged to its current dimensions in the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries.  After the Christian reconquest in 1236, it once again became a Catholic church, with further changes and additions through the years.

Aachen Cathedral, including Palatine Chapel (Imperial Cathedral)
792-814; 983; 14th – 15th centuries; 1881. Aachen, Germany. Architect(s): Unknown
A view of Aachen Cathedral from the north.
Between 936 and 1531, the Aachen Cathedral was the site of coronation ceremonies for 30 German kings and 12 German queens.

Great Mosque of Samarra (Mosque of al-Mutawakkil)
847-851. Mosque destroyed 1278.  Samarra, Iraq. Architect(s): UnknownThe minaret, or , is all that remains from the Great Mosque of Samarra.
This incredible ziggurat-like minaret (Malwiya Tower) and some remnants of the walls, are all that remain from the Great Mosque of Samarra.

Le Mont Saint-Michel
10th Century-12th Century; 15th Century. Mont St. Michel, Brittany, France. Architect(s): Unknown
Mont St. Michel is a site of an ancient monastery.
Mont St. Michel is a site of a monastery, which slowly built up the island from top to bottom until the buildings reached the shoreline.

Khajuraho Temples, including Kandariya Temple
950-1150. Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India. Architect(s): UnknownKandariya Mahadeva Temple, one of the temples in the Khajuraho complex.
Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is the largest and most ornate of the Hindu temples at khajuraho. 

St. Mark’s Basilica (Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of St. Mark)
978-1094, early 18th Century. Venice, Italy. Architect: Domenico I. ContariniThe facade of St. Mark's Basilica, with St. Mark's Piazza in the foreground.
St. Mark’s is an example of Byzantine architecture.  Its elaborate and ornate gilded decorations have earned it the nickname “Chiesa d’Oro”, or Church of Gold.

Taos Pueblo
1000-1450. Near Taos, NM, US. Architect(s): UnknownA view of the Taos Pueblo, in New Mexico, which may be the longest continuously inhabited communities in the United States.
The residential buildings in the Taos Pueblo are made of adobe, a natural building material made of sand, clay and water mixed with organic materials such as sticks, straw or manure, shaped into bricks (using frames) and dried in the sun. (Wikipedia.)

Moai
1000-1500. Easter Island (Rapa Nui), Chile. Architect(s): UnknownMoai on Easter Island.
The hundreds of carved Moai on Easter Island, or Rapa Nui may represent dead ancestors or dead or living chieftains.  Although their heads are larger than expected, they are full-body sculptures, and were designed to face inland.

Westminster Abbey (Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster)
1042-1090; 1245-1517; 1722-1745. London, UK. Architects: Henry Yevele; Nicholas Hawksmoor
A view of the west side of Westminster Abbey, final resting place of many famous Englishmen and women.
English and British kings and queens have been crowned in Westminster Abbey since 1066.

Tower of London (Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress)
1078; 1190s; 1285; 1377-1399: London, UK. Architect(s): Unknown
Among those who stayed involuntarily in the Tower of London:
The Tower of London is actually a walled complex of buildings including the White Tower, the Wakefield Tower, Lanthorn Tower, Beauchamp Tower, Bloody Tower, Traitors’ Gate, Legge’s Mount, Brass Mount and others.

Durham Cathedral (Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin; St. Cuthbert of Durham)
1093-1280; 15th Century; 18th Century; 19th Century. Durham, UK. Architects: George Nicholson & James Wyatt; George Scott
A view of Durham Cathedral from the south.
Because of the Cathedral’s strategic location, high above the River Wear, the bishop of Durham had military powers from 1080 until the 19th Century. (Wikipedia.)

Angkor Wat
1113-1150. Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. Architect(s): UnknownA view of the massive complex at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
King Suryavarman II built Angkor Wat in the 12th Century as a state temple and his eventual burial monument.  It is represented on the Cambodian flag.

Krak des Chevaliers (Crac des Chevaliers)
1140-1170; early 13th Century. Near Homs, Syria. Architect(s): UnknownKrak des Chevaliers was built by Western European Crusaders in present-day Syria.
The Kurds built the original castle in the 11th Century.  In 1142, the Crusading Knights Hospitaller obtained the site and rebuilt and enlarged the castle.  A second phase of building occurred in the 13th Century, at which point about 2,000 soldiers were stationed there.  In 1271, the Mamluk Sultan Baibars captured the castle after a 36-day siege.

The Louvre (Musée de Louvre)
Late 12th Century; 1546; 1876; 1988. Paris, France. Architects: Pierre Lescot & J.A. du Cerceau, Visconti & Jector Lefuel; I.M. Pei
First royal palace, then museum, the Louvre holds many masterpieces.
The earliest building (remains of which are visible in the crypt) was a 12th Century fortress. Charles V made it a residence in the 14th Century and Francis I ordered major renovations in 1546.  After Louis XIV moved the royal family to Versaille in 1682, the Louvre became a residence for artists.  The space was used as a public gallery on and off in the last half of the 18th Century, but only in 1791, during the Revolution, did it become a public museum. (Wikipedia.)

Notre Dame Cathedral (Notre Dame de Paris)
1163-1345. Paris, France. Architect: Bishop Maurice de Sully (attrib.)The Notre Dame Cathedral is famous for its flying buttresses, external structures that support the massive weight of the Gothic walls.
Notre Dame Cathedral reportedly houses in its reliquary the Crown of Thorns, a sliver of the True Cross, and one of the Holy Nails. (Wikipedia.)

Leaning Tower of Pisa
1173-1372. Pisa, Italy. Architects: Bonnano Pisano (?); Diotisalvi (?)
The Leaning Tower is the campanile, or bell tower, for the Pisa Cathedral complex.
After recent stabilization efforts, the Tower now leans at a respectable 3.99 degree angle, less than its former 5.5 degree lurch.  Of course, the original designers, not anticipating the softness of the ground on one side, intended for the tower to stand up straight. (Wikipedia.)

Chartres Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres)
1194-1260, 15th Century, 16th Century, 18th Century, 19th Century. Chartres, France. Architect(s): Unknown
Monet painted Chartres Cathedral in many different lights.
The two spires are mismatched: the one on the right was completed in 1160 in a plain Gothic style, while the other one was constructed in the early 16th Century using the then-prevalent Flamboyant style. Yet somehow it works.

Sainte-Chapelle
1238-1248; 1855. Paris, France. Architects: Pierre de Montreuil; Viollet-le-DucA view of Sainte-Chapelle from the North.
A view of Sainte-Chapelle from the North.

The interior of Sainte-Chapelle.
The interior of Sainte-Chapelle.

Castel del Monte
1240-1250. Apulia, Italy. Architect(s): Unknown
The Castel del Monte is famous for its unusual octagonal design.
The 13th Century Castel del Monte is famous for its unusual octagonal design.

Cologne Cathedral
1248-1473; 1842-1880, 1945-1956. Cologne, Germany. Architect(s): UnknownCologne Cathedral, with the Rhine River in the foreground.
Extensive repairs were required on Cologne Cathedral after it suffered 14 hits by Allied bombers during World War II.

Florence Cathedral “The Duomo” (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore)
1296-1436; 1876-1887. Florence, Italy. Architects: Arnolfo di Cambio; Giotto; Andrea Pisano; Filippo Brunelleschi; Emilio de Fabris
The Duomo dominates the skyline of Florence, Italy.
The Cathedral complex includes the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Campanile (Giotto’s Tower).

Doge’s Palace
1309-1442; Venice, Italy.  Architect(s): Unknown
The Doge's Palace in Venice.
The Doge’s Palace served as the residence for the Doge, the supreme authority of the Republic of Venice, from the 1440s until 1797.  In 1923, it became a museum.

The Kremlin (Moscow Kremlin) (includes five palaces, four cathedrals, walls & towers)
1329-1333; 1366-1368; 1462; 1476; 1485-1495; 1505-1508; 1596-1676; 1776; 1816-1819; 1839-1849. Moscow, Russia. Architects: Aristotle Fioravanti; Antonio Solario; Marco Ruffo; Matvey Kazakov; Osip Bove; Konstantin Thon
A view of the Moscow Kremlin.
Moscow Kremlin serves as the official residence of the President of Russian Federation.

Himeji Castle
1333; 1346; 1581; 1601-1609; 1617-1618. Himeji, Japan. Architect(s): UnknownHimeji Castle is a famous Japanese landmark.
Himeji Castle is also known as White Egret Castle for its resemblance to a large bird taking flight.

The Alhambra, including Palace of Charles V
1338-1391, 1527. Granada, Spain. Architect(s): UnknownA view of the complex of buildings that make up the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.
A view of the Alhambra complex, showing the Palace of Charles V on the right.

Milan Cathedral (Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica of the Nativity of St. Mary)
1386-1965. Milan, Italy. ArchitectsSimone da Orsenigo; Nicolas de Bonaventure; Jean Mignot; Giuseppe Meda; Federico Borromeo; Pellegrino Pellegrini; Francesco Brambilla; Francesco Maria Richini; Fabio Mangone; Carlo Pellicani; Giuseppe Perego; Carlo Pellicani Jr.
The Milan Cathedral took six centuries to complete.
The Milan Cathedral took six centuries to complete.

The Forbidden City
1406-1420. Beijing, China. Architect(s): Unknown
The Palace of Heavenly Purity.
The Palace of Heavenly Purity.

One of the corner towers of the Forbidden City.
One of the corner towers of the Forbidden City.

Machu Picchu (numerous buildings)
c. 1450. Cusco Region, Peru. Architect(s): UnknownThe ruins of Machu Picchu lie nestled in the high Peruvian Andes.
Machu Picchu was abandoned by the Incas when the Spanish arrived in the late 16th Century. It was “rediscovered” by American historian Hiram Bingham in 1911.  Since then, many of the buildings have been restored to their former appearance.

St. Peter’s Basilica
1506-1626. Vatican City, Italy. Architects: Donato Bramante, Antonio da Sangallo, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Giacomo della Porta, Carlo Maderno, Gianlorenzo Bernini
St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.
St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

Château de Chambord
1519-1547. Chambord, France. Architects: Domenico da Cortona (?); Philibert Delorme (?)
The Chateau de Chambord, seen here in an aerial view, is a fine example of French Renaissance architecture.
The Chateau de Chambord, seen here in an aerial view, is a fine example of French Renaissance architecture.

Another view of King Francis I's hunting lodge.
A ground level view of the castle, which served as King Francis I’s hunting lodge.

Itsukushima Shrine (Torii of Itsukushima; Gateway of Itsukushima)
Mid-16th Century; 1875. Miyajima, Japan. Architect(s): UnknownAt high tide, the torii, or gateway, appears to be floating in the sea.
Although parts of the shrine date to the the 1500s, the current gateway was built in 1875.

Château de Fontainebleau (Palace of Fontainebleau)
16th Century. Fontainebleau, France. Architects: Gilles le Breton; Sebastiano Serlio; Leonardo da Vinci; Rosso Fiorentino; Philibert Delorme; Jean BullantA view of the Chateau de Fontainebleau.
A view of the Chateau de Fontainebleau.

An interior view.
An interior view.

St. Basil’s Cathedral (Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat; Pokrovsky Cathedral)
1554-1561. Moscow, Russia. Architects: Barma & Postnik Yakolev (attrib.)The onion domes of St. Basil appear to have no precedent in architecture.
Ivan the Terrible ordered the building of St. Basil’s to commemorate his military victories over Kazan and Astrakan.

El Escorial (Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial)
1562-1584. San Lorenzo de El Escorial, near Madrid, Spain. Architects: Juan Bautista de Toledo, Juan de Herrera
El Escorial was the residential palace of the King of Spain.
El Escorial was the residential palace of the King of Spain.

The Courtyard of the Evangelists, part of the El Escorial monastery.
The Courtyard of the Evangelists, part of the El Escorial monastery.

Villa Rotonda (La Rotonda; Villa Almerico Capra)
1567-1571. Near Vicenza, Italy. Architect: Andrea PalladioPalladio's "La Rotunda" was named after the
In order to ensure that every room had sun, Palladio rotated the building 45 degrees from each point on the compass.

Selimiye Mosque
1568-1574. Edirne, Turkey. Architect: Minar SinanSelimiye Mosque is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture.
Selimiye Mosque is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture.

The interior of the Selimiye Mosque dome.
The interior of the Selimiye Mosque dome.

Fatehpur Sikri (numerous buildings)
1571-1585. Fatehpur Sikri, India. Architect: Tuhir Das
A view of the planned city of Fatehpur Sikri.
A wide-angle view of the planned city of Fatehpur Sikri, which served as the capital of the Mughal empire.

The Buland Darwaza, one of many spectacular buildings in Fatehpur Sakri.
The Buland Darwaza gate, one of many spectacular buildings in Fatehpur Sakri.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque “Blue Mosque”
1609-1616. Istanbul, Turkey. Architect: Sedefkâr Mehmed AğaThe nickname "Blue Mosque" comes from the blue tiles in the entranceway.
The Blue Mosque’s design incorporates some Byzantine elements with traditional Islamic architecture.

Imam Mosque (Masjed-e Imam; formerly Shah Mosque)
1611-1629. Isfahan, Iran. Architect: Shaykh Bahai
The Imam Mosque, in Isfahan.
The Imam Mosque, in Iran, was built during the Safavid Period and incorporates both Persian and Islamic elements.

The Queen’s House
1616-1619; 1635; 1807. Greenwich, UK. Architect: Inigo JonesThe Queen's House in Greenwich, by architect Inigo Jones, may be the first Neoclassical building in England.
The Queen’s House in Greenwich, by architect Inigo Jones, may be the first Neoclassical building in England.  It was originally built for Queen Anne of Denmark, wife of King James I.

Taj Mahal
1630-1653. Agra, India. Architect: Ustad Ahmad Lahauri (?)The Taj Mahal is a tomb for the wife of Shah Jahan.
The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum for Mumtaz Mahal, the third wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.

Potala Palace
1642-1650. Lhasa, Tibet, China. Architect(s): UnknownTibet's Potala Palace.
The Potala Palace served as the chief residence for the Dalai Lama until 1959.

Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles)
1664-1668; 1669-1672; 1678-1684; 1699-1710; 1722; 1738-1741. Versailles, France. Architects: Louis Le Vau; Jules Hardouin-Mansart; Robert de CotteThe Palace of Versailles, home to French kings and queens.
The Palace of Versailles.

The Hall of Mirrors.
The Hall of Mirrors.

St. Paul’s Cathedral (Cathedral Church of St. Paul the Apostle)
1675-1720. London, UK. Architect: Sir Christopher WrenSt. Paul's Cathedral was the target of Nazi bombers during World War II.
St. Paul’s Cathedral was the target of Nazi bombers during World War II.

The interior of St. Paul's Cathedral during a 2008 service.
The interior of St. Paul’s Cathedral during a 2008 service.

Buckingham Palace
1705; 1762-1837; 1847-1850; 1913. London, UK. Architects: John Nash; Edmund Blore; Sir Aston Webb
Buckingham Palace began as a small house for members of the royal family.
Although there has been a royal residence there since the early 1700s, it was only after numerous expansions and renovations that Buckingham Palace became the official royal palace of the British monarch in 1837..

Jantar Mantar
1726-1735. Jaipur, India. Architect: Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II
Jantar Mantar is an astrophysical observatory.
Jantar Mantar is an astronomical observatory and sundial, one of five built in India by Maharaja Jai Singh II.

Monticello
1768-1782. Near Charlottesville, VA, US. Architect: Thomas JeffersonPolymath and slave owner Thomas Jefferson designed Monticello, his Virginia estate.
Monticello is a Neoclassical residence designed and built by Thomas Jefferson.

The White House
1792-1801; 1814-1817; 1824-1829; 1901. Washington, D.C., US. Architects: James Hoban; Benjamin Latrobe
Every American president has lived in the White House except for George Washington.
British troops torched the Neoclassical White House, home of American presidents, during the War of 1812.  It was later restored.

United States Capitol
1793-1811; 1814-1826; 1851-1865. Washington, D.C., US. Architects: William Thornton; Benjamin Latrobe; Charles Bulfinch; Thomas Walter & August Schoenborn
The Capitol is the home of the United States Congress.
The Capitol is the home of the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

University of Virginia
1817-1826. Charlottesville, VA, US. Architect: Thomas JeffersonPavilions III and V, on the Lawn at the University of Virginia.
Pavilions III and V, on the Jefferson-designed Lawn at the University of Virginia.

British Museum
1823-1857. London, UK. Architect: Sir Robert SmirkeThe British Museum is home to
Despite subsequent renovations and additions, Sir Robert Smirke’s 19th Century Neoclassical building remains the heart of the British Museum.

Houses of Parliament, including “Big Ben” (Palace of Westminster)
1836-1870. London, UK. Architects: Charles Barry & Augustus PuginA view of the neo-gothic Houses of Parliament.
A view of the neo-gothic Houses of Parliament.

Washington Monument
1848-1854; 1877-1884. Washington, D.C. Architect: Robert Mills
Mills's original design included
Mills’s original design included a circular base for the obelisk and a statue of George Washington in a chariot.

Paris Opera House (Palais Garnier)
1861-1875. Paris, France. Architect: Charles GarnierThe Palais Garnier was home to the Paris Opera from 1875 to 1989.
The Palais Garnier was home to the Paris Opera from 1875 to 1989.

The Grand Staircase is one of the Palais Garnier's most remarkable features.
The Grand Staircase in the Palais Garnier.

Neuschwanstein Castle
1869-1882. Schwangau, Germany. Architect: Eduard ReidelNeuschwanstein Castle was designed as a retreat for Bavarian King Ludwig II.  He didn't want to spend public funds, so he used his own.
Neuschwanstein Castle was designed as a retreat for Bavarian King Ludwig II. 

Brooklyn Bridge
1869-1883. New York, NY, US. Architect: John Augustus RoeblingDozens of workers died while building the Brooklyn Bridge, including the architect, John Roebling.  He was inspecting the works from a pier across the Hudson when a boat crashed into the dock, crushing his foot. Despite the amputation of his toes, he died two weeks later of a tetanus infection.
The Brooklyn Bridge was the first steel-wire suspension bridge.

Sagrada Familia (Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família)
1882 and continuing. Barcelona, Spain. Architect: Antoni GaudíThe Sagrada Familia church is due to be finished in 2026.
Still incomplete, Sagrada Familia is due to be finished in 2026.

Statue of Liberty
1884-1886. Liberty Island, NY, US. Architect: Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi; Richard Morris Hunt (pedestal)
The Statue of Liberty.
The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the United States from France.  Written in the book in Lady Liberty’s hands is July 4, 1776, the date of the Declaration of Independence.

Marshall Field’s Wholesale Store
1885-1887. Demolished in 1930. Chicago, IL, US. Architect: Henry Hobson Richardson
Marshall Field.
Architect Henry Hobson Richardson designed the Marshall Field store in the Romanesque Revival style.

Tower Bridge
1886-1894. London, UK. Architect: Horace Jones
The Tower Bridge in 2012.
The Tower Bridge is a combined drawbridge and suspension bridge over the River Thames in London.

Eiffel Tower
1887-1889. Paris, France. Architects: Gustave Eiffel; Maurice Koechlin, Émile Nouguier; Stephen Sauvestre
The Eiffel Tower is a Paris icon.
The Eiffel Tower is an iron lattice structure that was built for the 1889 World’s Fair.

Wainwright Building
1890-1891. St. Louis, MO, US. Architect: Louis H. Sullivan & Dankmar AdlerThe National Register of Historic Places called the Wainwright Building "a highly influential prototype of the modern office building."
The National Register of Historic Places called the Wainwright Building “a highly influential prototype of the modern office building.”

Detail of a frieze from the Wainwright Building.
Detail of a frieze from the Wainwright Building.

Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co. Building (now Sullivan Center)
1899-1904. Chicago, IL, US. Architect: Louis H. Sullivan
The Sullivan skyscraper.
The 1904 Sullivan skyscraper today.

Flatiron Building
1902-1903. New York, NY, US. Architect: Daniel Burnham
The Flatiron Building in Manhattan.
The Flatiron Building in Manhattan.

Grand Central Station (Grand Central Terminal)
1903-1913. New York, NY, US. Architects: Reed & Stem, Warren & WetmoreExterior of the Grand Central Terminal.
Exterior of the Grand Central Terminal at night.

Interior view of Grand Central in New York City.
Interior view of Grand Central in New York City.

Larkin Building (Larkin Administration Building)
1904-1906. Demolished in 1950.  Buffalo, NY, US. Architect: Frank Lloyd WrightInside the Larkin Building's 76-foot-high  central light court, Frank Lloyd Wright placed carvings of inspirational words
Inside the Larkin Building’s 76-foot-high central light court, Wright inscribed inspirational words, including: Sacrifice, Integrity, Imagination, Loyalty, Enthusiasm and Control.

Palais Stoclet (Stoclet House; Stoclet Palace)
1905-1911. Brussels, Belgium. Architect: Josef HoffmannHoffmann designed the Stoclet House in the style
Hoffmann designed the Stoclet House in the Viennese Secession style.  It is still a private residence.

Casa Milà (La Pedrera)
1905-1912. Barcelona, Spain. Architect: Antoni GaudìAntoni Gaudì's Casa Mila residence in Barcelona.
Antoni Gaudì’s Casa Mila residence in Barcelona has acquired the nickname, “La Pedrera” or “The Quarry” due to its rocky appearance.

AEG Turbine Factory
1908-1910. Berlin, Germany. Architect: Peter Behrens
The AEG Turbine Factory
Peter Behrens was influenced by both Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts styles in designing a turbine factory for Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG) in Berlin.

Fagus Factory
1911-1913, 1925. Alfeld an der Leine, Germany. Architects: Walter Gropius & Adolf Meyer
The Fagus Factory was
In designing the Fagus Factory, which makes shoe lasts, Gropius and Meyer were strongly influenced by Behrens’ AEG Turbine Factory.

Einstein Tower
1919-1924. Potsdam, Germany. Architect: Erich Mendelsohn
The Einstein Tower
The Einstein Tower is an astrophysical observatory, with a solar telescope designed by astronomer Erwin Finlay-Freundlich.  Einstein himself called it “Organic.”  (Wikipedia.)

Bauhaus Dessau
1919-1926. Dessau, Germany. Architect: Walter GropiusThe Bauhaus building in Dessau, Germany, by Walter Gropius.
The Dessau building was the second home for the Bauhaus art school, which began in Weimar, Germany. Gropius both founded the school and designed the school buildings.

Schröder House (Rietvelt Schröder House)
1924. Utrecht, The Netherlands. Architect: Gerrit Rietveld
This may be the only true example of a building designed according to the principles of De Stijl.
Some experts believe this private residence may be the only true example of a building designed according to the principles of De Stijl, also known as neoplasticism.

Viipuri Municipal Library (Vyborg Library)
1927-1935. Vyborg, Russia (formerly Viipuri, Finland). Architect: Alvar AaltoThe Vipurii Library.
Exterior view of the Vipurii Library.

Interior of the Vipurii Library.
Interior of the Vipurii Library.

Barcelona Pavilion (German Pavilion, 1929 International Exposition)
1928-1929, 1986. Barcelona, Spain. Architect: Ludwig Mies van der RoheMeant to be a temporary structure, the Barcelona Pavilion was rebuilt in 1986.
Meant to be a temporary structure, the Barcelona Pavilion was rebuilt in 1986.

Chrysler Building
1928-1930. New York, NY, US. Architect: William Van Alen
The top portion of the Chrysler Building, which was the tallest building in the world for one year.  Photo by Carol Highsmith.
The Chrysler Building is a shining Art Deco beacon in the New York skyline. Photo by Carol Highsmith.

Villa Savoye
1928-1931. Poissy, France. Architects: Le Corbusier & Pierre JeanneretVilla Savoye is a dramatic revisioning of residential architecture.
Villa Savoye, a mondernist vision in reinforced concrete, is considered an exemplar of the International style.

PSFS Building (Loews Philadelphia Hotel)
1929-1932. Philadelphia, PA. Architects: George Howe & William Lescaze
The PSFS Building
The 36-floor PSFS Building, which opened in 1932, was seized by the FDIC in 1992.  By 2000, it had reopened as a hotel.

The Banking Hall of the PSFS Building.
The Banking Hall of the PSFS Building, in an undated photo.

Empire State Building
1930-1931. New York, NY, US. ArchitectWilliam F. Lamb
A Kong-free view of the Empire State Building.
On July 28, 1945, a B-25 bomber crashed into the north side of the Empire State Building, between the 79th and 80th floors, killing 14 people.  Elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver survived, but only after a 75-floor elevator free-fall. (Wikipedia)

Golden Gate Bridge
1933-1937. San Francisco, CA, US. Architects: Joseph B. Strauss, Irving Morrow & Charles Ellis
The Golden Gate refers to
The Golden Gate Bridge, which connects San Francisco to Marin County, is held together by 1.2 million steel rivets.

Fallingwater (Kaufmann Residence)
1936-1939. Mill Run, PA, US. Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed residence, Fallingwater, has many Japanese influences.
Wright designed Fallingwater for the Kaufmann family, who used it as a weekend retreat from 1937-1963, when they donated it to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, which operates it as a museum.

Johnson Wax Building (Johnson Wax Headquarters)
1936-1939. Racine, WI, US. Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
Wright designed the Johnson Wax headquarters.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Johnson Wax headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin.

The Great Work Room at the Johnson Wax Headquarters.
The Great Work Room at the Johnson Wax Headquarters.

Farnsworth House
1946-1951. Plano, IL, US. Architect: Ludwig Mies van der RoheThe Farnsworth House, now a museum, was originally built as a weekend retreat for Dr. Edith Farnsworth.
The Farnsworth House, now a museum, was originally built as a weekend retreat for Dr. Edith Farnsworth, of Chicago.

Gateway Arch
1947; 1963-1965; 1967. St. Louis, MO, US. Architect: Eero Saarinen & Hannskarl Bandel
The Gateway Arch symbolizes St. Louis's status as gateway to the western frontier of the United States.
The Gateway Arch is hollow – a tram system takes visitors to an observation deck at the top.

Lake Shore Drive Apartments (860-880 Lake Shore Drive)
1948-1951. Chicago, IL, US. Architect: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Mies
These Mies van der Rohe apartments in Chicago exemplify a modernist minimalism.

Glass House (Johnson House)
1949. New Canaan, CT. Architect: Philip Johnson
Philip Johnson's revolutionary statement, the Glass House.  Presumably no stones are permitted in the building.
The Glass House made Philip Johnson famous.

United Nations Headquarters
1949-1952. New York, NY, US. Architects: Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer, Harrison & Abramovitz
The United Nations Headquarters consists of several buildings, including
The International-style United Nations Headquarters consists of several buildings, including the General Assembly, the Secretariat and Dag Hammarskjöld Library.

UNAM Central Library
1950-1953. Mexico City, Mexico. Architects: Juan O’Gorman, Gustavo Saavedra & Juan Martinez de Velasco
The Central Library
The Central Library is located on the City University campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).  Chief designer Juan O’Gorman also painted the murals. 

Notre Dame du Haut
1953-1955. Ronchamp, France. Architect: Le CorbusierLe Corbusier's building replaced a 4th Century pilgrimage church that had been destroyed in World War II.
Some experts have called Le Corbusier’s church the first postmodern building.

Palace of Assembly
1953-1963. Chandigarh, India. Architect: Le CorbusierThe Palace of Assembly building is only one of many structures designed by Le Corbusier for the government seat of
The Palace of Assembly building is only one of many structures designed by Le Corbusier for the government seat of Chandigarh.

Seagram Building
1954-1958. New York, NY, US. Architects: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe & Philip Johnson
Love 'em or hate 'em, skyscrapers of today are much indebted to the Seagrams Building.
Functional and modernist, the Seagram Building spawned many imitators.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1956-1959. New York, NY, US. Architect: Frank Lloyd WrightTwenty-five artists signed a petition saying the Guggenheim was inappropriate for showing their artwork.
The interior gallery space consists of a spiral ramp from the top to the bottom of the building.

TWA Terminal (TWA Flight Center)
1956-1962. New York, NY, US. Architect: Eero SaarinenThe TWA Terminal, or Flight Center, at Kennedy Airport in New York.
The TWA Terminal, or Flight Center, at Kennedy Airport in New York.

Cathedral of Brasília (Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady Aparecida)
1958-1970. Brasília, Brazil. Architect: Oscar Neimeyer
The statues
The statues of the four Evangelists at the entrance to Neimeyer’s cathedral were created by sculptor Dante Croce.

Sydney Opera House
1959-1973. Sydney, Australia. Architect: Jørn UtzonThe Sydney Opera House.
The Sydney Opera House.

National Assembly Building (Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban; National Parliament House)
1961-1982. Dhaka, Bangladesh. Architect: Louis I. KahnThe Bangladesh Parliament House.
The Bangladesh Parliament House.

Space Needle
1962. Seattle, WA, US. Architects: John Graham & Edward E. Carlson
The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World's Fair.
The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair.

Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery)
1962-1968. Berlin, Germany. Architect: Ludwig Mies van der RoheAn aerial view of the Neue Nationalgalerie, a Berlin art museum.
An aerial view of the Neue Nationalgalerie, a Berlin art museum.

John Hancock Center
1965-1970. Chicago, IL, US. Architect: Bruce Graham/Skidmore, Owings & MerrillThe John Hancock Center in Chicago.
The 100-floor John Hancock Center in Chicago is an example of the Structural Expressionist style.

World Trade Center
1966-1977. New York, NY, US. Architect: Minoru Yamasaki
On August 7, 1974, Philippe Petit walked between the two World Trade Center towers on a wire.
The twin towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed on September 11, 2001.

Saint-Pierre
1971-1975; 2003-2006. Firminy, France. Architects: Le Corbusier & José Oubrerie
Saint Pierre.
Although construction on the Saint Pierre church began in 1971, local political issues caused a hiatus until 2003, when building resumed.

Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower)
1973-1976. Chicago, IL, US. Architect: Bruce Graham/Skidmore, Owings & MerrillThe Willis Tower in Chicago, formerly the Sears Tower, was for a time the tallest building in the world.
The Willis Tower in Chicago was originally known as the Sears Tower.

CN Tower
1973-1976. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Architect: John Andrews/WZMH ArchitectsThe CN Tower is the tallest building in Canada.
Toronto’s CN Tower is the tallest building in Canada.

Lloyd’s Building
1978-1986. London, UK. Architect: Richard Rogers
Some say the Lloyd's Building looks like it has been turned inside out.
The Lloyd’s Building, home of Lloyd’s of London, is also known as the “Inside-Out” building.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial (“The Wall”)
1982. Washington, D.C., US. Architect: Maya Lin
Aerial view of the
Aerial view of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Over 50 names
The names of nearly 60,000 American soldiers killed in Vietnam between 1959 and 1975 were etched into the gabbro walls using a photoemulsion and sandblasting process.

Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (HSBC Main Building)
1983-1985. Hong Kong, China. Architect: Norman Foster
The HSBC Main Building is an example of
The HSBC Main Building is an example of Structural Expressionism.

Menil Collection
1987. Houston, TX, US. Architect: Renzo Piano
The front of the Menil Collection.
A view of Renzo Piano’s building for the Menil Collection, which holds the private art collection of John and Dominique de Menil.
Piano's design is an example of the high-tech modern style.
Another view of the Menil Collection building.  Piano’s design is an example of the high-tech modern style.

Yokohama International Passenger Terminal (Ōsanbashi Pier)
1987-2002. Yokohama, Japan. Architect: Foreign Office ArchitectsYokohama Passenger Terminal.
The current Yokohama International Passenger Terminal was constructed on Osanbashi Pier, which dates to the late 19th Century.
An overhead view of the new passenger terminal.
An overhead view of the new passenger terminal.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Library of Alexandria)
1989-2002. Alexandria, Egypt. Architect: SnøhettaThis modern structure replaces the ancient Library of Alexandria, which burned down in ancient times.
The Alexandria Library.

Another view of the new Alexandria library.

Another view of the new Alexandria library.

Hong Kong International Airport (Chek Lap Kok Airport)
1991-1998. Hong Kong, China. Architect: Norman FosterA view
A view of Norman Foster’s design for the new Hong Kong airport.

Another view.

Another view.

Jewish Museum Berlin (new wing)
1992-1999. Berlin, Germany. Architect: Daniel Libeskind
An aerial view.
An aerial view of the zig-zagging new wing (on left) of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, which connects to the older portion of the museum (on right) by an underground tunnel.

A closer view of Libeskind's design.
A closer view of Libeskind’s design. A 66-foot tall space, “The Void” cuts across the interior of the building. 

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
1993-1997. Bilbao, Spain. Architect: Frank Gehry
Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.
Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

Petronas Towers
1993-1999. Kuala  Lumpur, Malaysia.  Architect: César Pelli
The Twin Towers of Kuala Lumpur were for a time the tallest buildings in the world.
The Twin Towers of Kuala Lumpur were for a time the tallest buildings in the world.

Burj Al Arab (Tower of the Arabs)
1994-1999. Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Architect: Tom Wright/AtkinsBurj al-Arab is a hotel shaped like a sail, built on its own man-made island.
Burj al-Arab is a hotel shaped like a sail, built on its own man-made island.

30 St Mary Axe “The Gherkin” (formerly Swiss Re Building)
2001-2004. London, UK. Architect: Norman Foster
The shape of Norman Foster's London skyscraper has led to the nickname, "The Gherkin."
The shape of Norman Foster’s London skyscraper has led to the nickname, “The Gherkin.”

Millau Viaduct
2001-2004. Millau, France.  Architects: Norman Foster & Michel VirlogeuxThe Millau Viaduct is the tallest bridge in the world.
The Millau Viaduct is the tallest bridge in the world.

Oscar Niemeyer Museum (Museu Oscar Niemeyer; Museum of the Eye)
2001-2002. Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil. Architect: Oscar NiemeyerThe Eye.
The Eye.

The Oscar Niemeyer Museum.

The Oscar Niemeyer Museum.

Taipei 101 (formerly Taipei World Financial Center)
2003-2004. Taipei, Taiwan. Architect: C.Y. Lee & Partners
Taipei 101 incorporates some architectural details of the traditional Chinese pagoda.
Taipei 101 incorporates some architectural details of traditional Chinese architecture.

Beijing National Stadium “Bird’s Nest”
2003-2008. Beijing, China. Architects: Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron; Stefan Marbach, Ai Weiwei
The Bird's Nest was the home for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
The Bird’s Nest was the home for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Seattle Central Library
2004. Seattle, WA, US. Architects: Rem Koolhaas & Joshua Prince-Ramus

Seattle Central Library.

Seattle Central Library.

Burj Khalifa (Burj Dubai; Dubai Tower)
2004-2010. Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Architect: Adrian Smith/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Dubai now boasts the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.
Burj Khalifa currently holds the record for the tallest building in the world.

2 thoughts on “Best Architecture of All Time – Chronological

  1. Pingback: More Lists About Buildings and Food (Actually, Just Buildings) | Make Lists, Not War

  2. Pingback: New York City Vs. London - Page 5 - City-Data Forum

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